Iron Arrow celebrates 2021 inductees over drum rolls and cheers

Iron Arrow's Fall 2021 Tapping Class and officers pose near the Iron Arrow Mound on Nov. 4, 2021. Image courtesy of Iron Arrow/by Jared Lennon.
Iron Arrow's Fall 2021 Tapping Class and officers pose near the Iron Arrow Mound on Nov. 4, 2021. Image courtesy of Iron Arrow/by Jared Lennon.

The 14 students chosen for this year’s “tapping” were inducted into the Iron Arrow Honor Society, “The highest honor attained at the University of Miami,” amidst rolling drum beats and cheers from alumni on Nov. 4 during UM’s homecoming week.

Cecilia Amaro, Asia Chester, Bao-Tien Duong, Santiago Freire, Carrie Furman, Drew Goheen, Justin Hier, Charlotte Kiehn, Sydney Knapp, Anisha Kore, Ian Malesiewski, John Tiger Oliva, Sydney Stropes and Fred Telischi made up this year’s class of inductees into UM’s exclusive academic honor society.

According to its website, Iron Arrow looks to recognize students who exemplify love of alma mater, character, leadership, scholarship and humility. After being nominated by current Iron Arrow members, potential inductees are notified in-person by members of the society.

“I literally had no idea I was going to be tapped,” said Furman, a senior studying medical anthropology and member of the most recent tapping class. “I was actually competing in the alma mater competition with TBS (Tau Beta Sigma) when I noticed my old RA walking up to me, and I was looking around to see who she was getting.”

In addition to her role as a member of both the Frost Band of the Hour and the musical-service honor society Tau Beta Sigma, Furman is an RA and runs the annual Impact Leadership Retreat through the Butler Center. Despite her lengthy list of on-campus leadership roles, Furman says she did not expect Iron Arrow to approach her.

“I had no clue I was going to be tapped, but it was a really cool experience,” Furman said.

Current Iron Arrow members meet twice a year to determine which students will be in a given semester’s tapping class. In addition to undergraduate juniors and seniors, graduate students, alumni, faculty, administration, staff and members of the Board of Trustees are eligible to be nominated for membership.

The tapping ceremony held by Iron Arrow is conducted in accordance with Miccosukee ritual. Inductees must maintain a drum beat for one hour while wearing the society’s traditional green and orange tribal jackets.

“It was a pretty crazy day,” said Duong, a senior majoring in neuroscience and member of this fall’s tapping class. “The whole process was about three hours of greeting people.”

The Florida Miccosukee Tribe, which became independent of the Seminoles in 1965, gave similar jackets to the nine founding Iron Arrow members in 1926 and officially made Iron Arrow a clan of the Seminole nation. Iron Arrow now operates as a clan of the Miccosukee Tribe.

Each jacket is individually handcrafted by Miccosukee artisans. It takes about a week to produce just a foot and a half of the Seminole patchwork, and another week to sew the jacket together.

“It was a really great experience meeting all the other tapees and learning about what the organization represents in terms of UM and the history of the Miccosukee tribe and how we can honor these traditions and educate the campus about them,” said Duong, who participates in on-campus organizations including the Asian American Student Association, Alternative Breaks and the Students of Color Symposium.

With alumni back on campus for Homecoming, Iron Arrow tapees had the opportunity to meet multiple generations of Iron Arrow members.

“It really made the whole homecoming experience ten times more special, because as a new member you see everyone with their jackets, so it was really cool to meet different people and hear their stories,” said Furman.

All Iron Arrow practices and rituals are done with the approval of the Miccosukee Tribe through coordination between Iron Arrow’s leadership and its Miccosukee liaison, Curtis. E Osceola.